Influencing Hawai‘i Hotel Patrons to Use Reef-~Safe Sunscreens
The health of Hawaiian coral reefs is threatened by pollution from common sunscreen ingredients such as oxybenzone. Hawai‘i hotel patrons using sunscreens with harmful ingredients contaminate coral reefs when these products wash off while swimming or bathing. Reef-safe sunscreens are alternative sunscreens that provide effective sun protection while averting damage to coral reefs. The purpose of this research was to determine the dominant factors leading to the pro-environmental behavior of using reef-safe sunscreen and identify practices that Hawai‘i hotel operators could implement to influence patrons to engage in this behavior. This research applied an integrative conceptual framework to model pro-environmental behavior in the hospitality industry. The framework proposed attitudes, personal capabilities, and habits as causal variables that influence pro-environmental intention, the predictor of pro-environmental behavior. Contextual factors was proposed as a moderating variable for the relationship between pro-environmental intention and pro-environmental behavior. Two studies were conducted: Study I, an elicitation study, performed 15 in-depth interviews with current Hawai‘i hotel patrons and Study II surveyed a sample of 400 past Hawai‘i hotel patrons using an online self-administered survey. Intention to use reef-safe sunscreen while in Hawai‘i and the factors that influenced intention were investigated. Interviews were examined using thematic analysis and survey responses were analyzed with multiple linear regression and one-way repeated measures ANOVA. Results indicated that Hawai‘i hotel patrons’ intention to use reef-safe sunscreen was primarily influenced by three determinants: attitudes, personal capabilities, and contextual factors. Targeting the development of personal capabilities and employing contextual factors that facilitate the behavior were shown as effective methods to influence reef-safe sunscreen use. Findings supported educational campaigns and complimentary reef-safe sunscreen amenity programs as practices that Hawai‘i hotel operators could implement to significantly influence patrons’ intention to use reef-safe sunscreens.